November 14, 2005

Province approves air quality renewals for NB Power facilities

Air quality approvals for two of New Brunswick Power's coal-fired power plants will be renewed in December. Acting Environment and Local Government Minister Dale Graham has approved a four and one-half year permit renewal for the Grand Lake thermal generating station, near Minto, and a five-year renewal for the Dalhousie generating station, in the town of Dalhousie, both effective December 1, 2005.

The Grand Lake facility is the oldest fossil-fueled generating station still operating in the province; it produces up to 60 megawatts (MW) of electricity using pulverized coal as a primary fuel, supplemented by No 2 fuel oil. It is a significant source of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in New Brunswick, emitting approximately 25 kilotonnes of SO2 per year. This is substantial proportion of the SO2 emissions cap under which NB Power operates its network of generating stations.

The renewed air quality approval sets out detailed terms and conditions to be met by the facility, including limits on emissions of SO2, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, and requirements for monitoring and reporting of emissions and for control of fugitive dust releases. These continue similar requirements set out in the current approval.

The Dalhousie station, originally commissioned in 1969 and refurbished in 1994, is the second electricity generating facility in New Brunswick designed with a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system (also referred to as a "wet scrubber"). The facility generates up to 320 MW of electricity from the combustion of liquid Orimulsion(r) as its primary fuel.

The conversion to Orimulsion, completed in mid-1994, together with the installation of the FGD system, have made the Dalhousie plant a minimal source of emissions. Monitoring data gathered over ten years of operation have confirmed that emissions from the Dalhousie station rarely affect northern New Brunswick or neighbouring areas.

The permit renewal applications for both facilities underwent a public consultation exercise, including a 120-day comment period between May and September. While a number of concerns were raised relating to the Grand Lake station, the department received no comments or questions about the Dalhousie facility permit renewal. Both facilities have maintained compliance with their permit terms and conditions, with only occasional exceedances experienced.

More information, including facility profiles, draft and intended approvals, and summaries of issues raised and responses to the issues may be viewed on-line at (Grand Lake) or (Dalhousie).

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